Most sales tasks in the modern, social selling environment require us to access multiple systems, usually via a web browser. I know all too well that disconnected systems make this extremely frustrating, with copy and paste being the sticking plaster that patches over the huge cracks. Consider just some of the tasks that sales people […]
Matrix Section – Applications for Sales and Marketing
However, in the LinkedIn and Social Selling world there are many new innovations, and tools and apps coming out, claiming to help us be more productive and to achieve better results.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by technology, to feel that sometimes it’s difficult to live with technology, but also it’s more difficult to live without it too.
As people go deeper into LinkedIn, and want more results from it, it becomes fairly clear that sales productivity could drop dramatically unless something is done about it.
And for some people this risks becoming a show-stopper, for them and for their sales team, and a reason to stick with ‘tried and tested’ sales methods.
So let me try to help you make some sense of the apps and technology side of LinkedIn and Social Selling.
Quick start tips
As we move beyond the basic use of LinkedIn for Sales there are some specific activities and tools that I’ve found to be very helpful:
- For frequently used phrases and passages, like invite sends and accepts – a Text Expander such as Phrase Express.
- For scheduling Updates into LinkedIn linking to blog articles and landing pages – a scheduler such as included in Hootsuite
- For building prospect lists and contact records (and many other activities) – a Social CRM such as Nimble with its Browser Widget
The associated issue with multiple tools is where is the data, and how do you manage it – but that’s a topic for another article.
Tips for useful Apps and Tools to use with LinkedIn
1. LinkedIn Related Apps and Tools for Personal Brand
The foundation of personal branding and attracting enquiries is creating and sharing great content that educates your prospects.
- Schedule Updates that link to Evergreen content on your website using Hootsuite, Buffer or similar.
- Create Engaging Images and Infographics using Powerpoint – with templates like these from Hubspot
- Create lead generating presentations using Powerpoint and upload to your profile, or publish to Slideshare and use that URL
- Record a Video using your smartphone, upload it to YouTube and add it as Media to your profile or include it in an Article
The tools for this are free and relatively easy to use. The real value is in the content and the message, and there are tips about educational content here.
2. LinkedIn Related Apps and Tools for Social Prospecting
Finding, reaching and connecting or messaging new contacts is the heart of social prospecting, and there are tools to help you here.
This is also where LinkedIn Sales Navigator fits in, providing more functionality to help LinkedIn power users to find prospects, build out company profiles and manage some sales activity.
- Tools that do the leg-work to build profiles of contacts ‘auto-magically’ – like Nimble CRM
- Tools that ‘visit’ peoples profiles on your behalf – like Autopilot and Dux Soup and eLink
- Tools that send messages via LinkedIn on your behalf – again like Autopilot and Dux Soup and eLink.
Automation can be very beneficial when done appropriately. But be very careful it doesn’t run away from you, with dramatic consequences.
3. Sales Tools that support effective full cycle Social Selling
Now you’ve used LinkedIn to get visitors to ‘invite’ people to your sales landing pages, or built a list of contacts, what next? How can you nurture them?
- Email messages within LinkedIn – this has been possible within LinkedIn, or there are third party programmes that do this through LinkedIn.
- Email Marketing Automation – once you have the email address, and permission, you can continue the sales journey using email marketing, and tracking, and automation with packages such as InTouchCRM
- A CRM to support your sales relationship building that incorporates multi-touch, multi-channel and multi-media communication, where Nimble CRM offers great capability at low cost
- Additional Content – a website running on WordPress or equivalent is pretty essential as a repository for your valuable educational content especially when using a Sales Add-on such as OptimizePress
- Analytics to monitor and measure activity and campaigns – such as Google Analytics
There are more sophisticated systems for larger companies, such as Hubspot, Infusionsoft, Sitecore and many more.
Download our Pocket Guide to Social Selling
If you haven’t already done so get a copy of our guide, which covers more LinkedIn Tips and introduces the Social Selling Matrix.
LinkedIn provides many functions that provide a good foundation for Social Selling, such as:
- Who viewed my profile
- Keep in Touch triggers for birthdays and anniversaries of your 1st level contact
- Many sections on the Personal Profile that provide a rich canvas for Personal Branding
- Visibility of who liked and commented on our Status Updates
- Ability to TAG contacts into groups, to focus activity and also to send emails to small lists
However, there are several additional tools and apps for Social Selling that we use the increase productivity and results considerably.
Apps for Social Selling
There has been an explosion in the number and variety of apps for Social Selling recently
The following are particularly useful, based on our personal experience:
- Hootsuite – for pre-scheduling content to be posted to LinkedIn Profile, LinkedIn Page, Twitter and other Social Networks
- Contact Monkey – for tracking opens and clicks for emails sent through Gmail
- Nimble Social CRM – for managing relationships and sales activities in the Social Selling environment
Tools for Social Selling
Content is one of the most important tools you’ll need for Social Selling.
In particular you should be developing content for the following places:
- Your personal LinkedIn Personal Profile
- Your LinkedIn Company Page
- LinkedIn Status Updates
- Long-form posts on LinkedIn
- Presentations on Slideshare
Take a look around the website for more insight and guidance about how to make the most of LinkedIn.
If you are evaluating technology platforms and content management systems (CMS) for your business website you may have come across WordPress, WordPress Themes and WordPress Website Framework. For non-technical people this can be confusing, so I hope this article provides some clarification about options and alternatives.
Very briefly, a WordPress Theme is the essentially a pre-built layout and design for a website. There are many thousands of designs to choose from – some free and some you can buy. Since they are pre-built you can compare different layouts and colour schemes and choose one you like. Having done that you may have some options to make changes, but these may be limited.
When looking for a Theme you may find that you have the option to choose a Framework as a search parameter, or in the Theme comments it mentions the Framework it’s built on.
A WordPress website framework provides more options to change the website layout and design in a way that doesn’t require coding. This can be a real advantage for business owners who don’t want to write code but who do want some flexibility to update and extend their website without the need to keep going back to a website designer for minor changes.
When I started using WordPress and built the Wurlwind website initially in 2010 it took me a while to understand the options, my requirements and the different approaches.
I’ve been reviewing options and advising a client who needs a new website today. Having done the research I wanted to share what is essentially a list of resources and links, plus some brief comment. I hope you find this a useful resource and that it saves you some time.
WordPress Website Framework Alternatives
I’ll declare my hand up-front and say I chose WooThemes in 2011 and the Inspire Theme. I then moved the website across to the Canvas Theme in 2012. This review essentially confirms that this was a good choice, and it is the direction I’m steering my client towards.
Disclaimer: the following is a very brief summary and not a recommendation per se. Do your own research and decide what your requirements are and what option best meets your needs.
Their headline is “Premium Themes, Plugins & ECommerce for WordPress”. This accurately reflects that they provide not just Themes, and an underlying framework, but also a range of Plug-ins and a market leading ecommerce application.
WooThemes offer 100+ premium themes plus some free ones, so there are lots of designs to choose from. Underlying them is the Woo Framework – you get access to it, you don’t buy it separately.
Canvas is the Flagship Theme from WooThemes so you get a powerful and flexible design and a great underlying platform. The current cost is $99
Woo offers two substantial applications that provide great functionality.
Woo Commerce – this is a market-leading (10.8% market share) e-commerce application. It is not restricted to Woo Themes, and can be downloaded and used as a ‘Plug-in’ by other WordPress installations. It is available for Free!
- Commerce Extensions – there is an extensive range of additional functionality, integrations etc. to compliment the Woo Commerce application and make it much quicker to create and extend an e-commerce website.
Sensei – Learning Management System – if you offer online training courses this is an awesome plug-in application through which to deliver your courses. It’s a premium plug-in, currently priced at $129
In addition WooThemes offer a range of Tools and extras such as:
- DoJo – Tool Kit – Free – mostly
- Slider – Ultimate Slideshow $49
- Sidebars – Free
- Features – Free
- Testimonials – Free
Assessment of WooThemes
- Extensive Commercial Apps Footprint – Woo Commerce and Sensei
- Excellent support – they’ve gone above and beyond for me several times
- Size – critical mass of team – which should provide security and developments
- Community – you can find developer partners on the WooThemes site
- Some reported slowness of support – some reported issues mid 2013 – may have been growth pains
- Cumbersome support community – access, documentation etc – but it’s a vast product portfolio
- Technical specialists may consider it has heavy-weight, bloated code due to the many extensions and functions
Looking beyond this summary, I have asked WooThemes about plans to become stronger in support of marketing and sales. Key additional areas I’m looking for are Membership, Landing Pages, Event Management. Their response has been neutral. However there are an increasing range of WordPress plug-ins available to cover these areas.
Their headline is “Drag and Drop Website Builder”. This lets you design your own site.
Pricing: Personal = $59, Business = $99, Developer = $199
- Self-built platform
- Nice document library
- Sucuri Safe Theme
- Maybe less Out-of-the-box function than other framework/theme combinations
- You need to build it yourself
Billed as “the ultimate design and template manager for wordpress”
- Skins – claims to make templates and themes easier than having parent & child theme relationships
- Boxes – widgets
- Site Tools –
- Design focus – if that’s what you want
Pricing: Basic = $87, Basic + = $164, Pro = $197
This is created and available from StudioPress, a division of Copyblogger.
This is essentially geared for Content Publishing – so if you and your business are Content Focused and post blog entries frequently this could be good for you.
They claim 96k users
This is positioned as a Design Management System – DMS – with a strong Design focus
Comments have been made that is is a heavy-weight page design system.
Pricing: 3 levels at $8, $16, $24 /month
This is a light-weight page design system
It is Free, as far as I can see
It has had over 1m downloads
NB. Other Frameworks are available….
There is an aspect of ‘you get what you pay for’. A Theme may save you time, but then restrict your options. A framework may give you more flexibility but need a bit more set-up and carry some coding overhead. The other option is a bespoke design, which will almost certainly carry a much high price-tag and less flexibility.
If you’d like some guidance, beyond a question or two, we provide a Website Review and Action Plan service, especially for lead generation focused websites.
A LinkedIn discussion today asked “What’s your favourite CRM, and why?” I thought this was a great question, since it invites personal opinion with rationale to support it, rather than asking for ‘best’ or ‘recommendations’. What is ‘best’ for one personal or business and their situation and needs may not be right for another person […]
For most small businesses an email marketing system that provides broadcast capability meets their marketing and customer contact requirements in the email area. However, for slightly larger businesses, or those who can justify investment of resources into a more sophisticated email marketing campaigns, it is worthwhile considering an email marketing automation system. As a rough […]
The answer to this question is pivotal to Social Selling Success.
Sure, you can use LinkedIn to raise your profile through groups and discussions, build a following, highlight the great content you are publishing, increase sign-ups to your email newsletters, increase your likelihood of being found for keywords, develop and nurture relationships, and many other layers of activity that provide an effective social selling platform.
As well as all this Inbound Marketing activity, it is also very beneficial to have tools to support your Outbound Sales and Lead Generation.
The ability to extract Sales Intelligence from LinkedIn is a relatively new area, especially for smaller and very focused B2B sales organisations.
SalesLoft is part of a new breed of sales intelligence and social media monitoring tools. It is focused on lead generation and relationship building typical of B2B sales.
SalesLoft and Trigger Event Alerts
Within a week of setting up SalesLoft I was seeing massive opportunity and potential through this tool.
On a practical level, I am receiving a daily alert by email, highlighting people in my LinkedIn network who have changed their profile information, and more specifically, changed their headline and position information, or changed jobs.
What I particularly like is you see the before and after – what their headline or position wording was before and then afterward. This helps to identify the key changes, from the cosmetic.
To give some examples from the last couple of days:
- A professional services partner who has changed his company name indicating a merger was now public domain
- A technology company CEO in my network who had left a company and was now looking for a new position
- A marketing manager at a major bank who had changed her job title to reflect a new role she has
- A Director in an Educational Charity who has changed region
- A tech MD who has updated his headline and job to reflect a shift in his company focus.
Each of these represented a trigger event, and an opportunity to look more closely at what was going on for that person, their department and the firm or company. I was then able to construct a very personal, targeted and relevant message for each of them, highlighting a topic that should be a valuable conversation around an area I can add value.
The power of a trigger event
I’ll admit that as I write this, trigger events is a relatively new concept that I’ve become familiar with over the last couple of months. What is particularly powerful is the alignment between trigger events and social media and social selling.
SalesLoft provides sales intelligence and trigger event alerts to individual sales people enabling them to be far more precise about who they communicate with, when they communicate and what they communicate about.
For further information about Trigger Event Selling, see related articles on this website and the book SHIFT! by Craig Elias and Tibor Shanto
Who could benefit from SalesLoft?
Essentially anyone can benefit, but in particular if you meet the following profile:
- If you are a SalesPerson (and you should be able to use SalesLoft outside of your company IT infrastructure)
- If you are a Business Owner, Consultant, Solo-preneur
- If you are in HR or recruitment also – but that is a different subject area
- If you are responsible for a sales team
- If you have a LinkedIn profile
- If you want to build better relationships with people in your LinkedIn network
- If you want to be alerted to sales opportunities on a daily basis by email
- If you want to work SMARTER and get ahead of your competition.
How to get started with SalesLoft?
- Sign-up for Salesloft for free here
- Link to your LinkedIn account
- Start receiving email alerts
- Tip#1 – now start growing your LinkedIn Network
- Tip#2 – and then look at the SalesLoft Prospecting Tool
Have a great time prospecting and building effective and fruitful sales relationships.
Webinars and online meetings are powerful events to add to marketing and sales campaigns. For example you might build a lead generation campaign around a webinar about a specific issue, question or challenge that your target audience faces. Choosing a webinar and online meeting system can be a challenge as there are several available on the market.
Webex and GoToMeeting are the market leaders, however these can be expensive for smaller businesses. A system that I’ve identified and used successfully is AnyMeeting. This is an easy to use, fully featured webinar and online meeting system, available either Free or for a low monthly cost. Check out my short review below and see whether this meets your requirements, or gives you some ideas.
Key Features of the AnyMeeting Webinar and Online Meeting System
Send Email Invitations
This is part of the meeting creation and set-up sequence, and ideal for inviting colleagues or business partners to smaller ‘internal meetings’. For marketing and lead generation you’d be better off using your email marketing system.
Create Custom Registration Forms
Create registration forms hosted by AnyMeeting and decide which fields and data you want to capture. This makes it really quick and easy to set up a campaign as you don’t need to update your website.
Sell Tickets to your Webinars
This has great potential, for example if you are running education sessions and want to charge customers or prospects. You can charge for live events and for access to recorded sessions that you promote afterwards.
Promote meetings on Twitter and Facebook
An easy way to announce that you’ve created an event and alert your followers or those who find the event via appropriate keywords and compelling copy.
Customize your AnyMeeting Public Profile
Add your logo and description to your profile when you’re on the chargeable level.
Meet with up to 200 participants
The FREE version allows 200 attendees but is ad supported. The first tier chargeable is currently $17.99 per month and allows 25 attendees, which is a workable number for many small businesses with a focused message for a segment of their audience. The next level is 200 attendees for $69.99 per month. If these levels suit your business profile and marketing campaign plans then read on.
Share Anything on your Screen
Decide whether to share a full screen or a window area within your screen. I find it best to run it from a laptop with a second monitor attached. I share the monitor display which runs the Powerpoint or Product demonstration, and I control the session, chat, polls etc. with the laptop screen.
You can demonstrate online applications with AnyMeeting, so I can share LinkedIn, Twitter, Hootsuite, Nimble and other Social Media and Social Selling apps with attendees.
Upload and Share Powerpoints and PDFs
You can show presentations in screen share mode, but for quicker responses you can also upload them and reduce the line traffic that might impact the performance speed of your online meeting.
This is useful for small meetings such as with business partners, customers and prospects where you want to go into detail and have an interactive online meeting. Consider this as an alternative to Google Hangout.
Integrated Conference calling
Maybe you don’t want a video or visual meeting and a telephone only meeting is sufficient or more practical, for instance if some attendees are on the road travelling. AnyMeeting supports this so you don’t need to use other systems.
Record and Share Webinars and meetings later
You have the option to record your meetings and create an archive and then share and publicise them. Ideal if some people are unable to make the agreed webinar time-slot, or you make contact with someone subsequently and you want to highlight a particular webinar as it makes a relevant point for your sales campaign.
Interact with your Attendees
There are several ways to make the webinar interactive, such as the chat box and polls, which are great ways to maintain audience engagement and find out what their challenges are. Attendees like to see what others are responding with as well.
Attend from your Tablet
There are new developments which make AnyMeeting accessible from devices other than PCs.
Create Custom Polls, Surveys or Tests
These can be created for use during the online meeting or as part of the pre or post meeting interaction, such as a post meeting survey.
Review Meeting Reports
Attendance and attendee details are recorded and these are accessible after the meeting has finished, to support follow-up contact activity.
Email Attendees a Follow-up Message
Sending a follow-up email is really simple, and extends the value of the online meeting into a further discussion, to recap on key points, ask questions and move prospects through to the next stage of the sales process.
AnyMeeting Support and Community
When I have had questions about the AnyMeeting system the support has been very swift and helpful.
They also provide great advice and guidance to help people make the most of webinars and online meetings, through their blog.
The AnyMeeting organisation has been around for a few years now, although it has been through a name change and rebrand. It is reassuring that the company has a good track record and is not a start-up. They also have a realistic revenue model, so they can invest in infrastructure, support, and service quality.
Looking for a Webinar and Online Meeting System?
If you are looking for a webinar and online meeting system then
I recommend you take a look at AnyMeeting here – or just click the image below.
And if you need help with webinars and webinar based lead generation campaigns do drop us a line.
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